Mobile devices, Planets and the Human Condition

100 years of the Helicopter, its 100 today!

, posted: 13-Nov-2007 07:18

100 years ago today, Paul Cornu, a french bicycle maker is credited as the first person to rise vertically in powered free flight.

at a gigantic height of 1 foot high, for a total of around 20 seconds

There was an earlier flight (between 14 august and 29 september) by two french brothers Jacques and Louis Breguet, whose GyroPlane no.1 went up to two feet high for a full minute,
unfortunately they required a man at each corner to hold it steady,

so they get some of the credit being the first man carrying helicopter, but not the first true free flight which was taken out by Paul Cornu.

It is amazing how fast things progress though, withing 17 years of that first unmanned flight Frenchman Etienne Oemichen set the first recognised helicopter world record flying his chopper to a height of 360 metres (according to wikipedia)

A bit more history...

400bc Chinese bamboo flying top.

1493 - Leonardo Da Vinci's "aerial Screw" - practical models were made, but he could not work out how to counter the torque.

1907 Jacques and Louis Breguet, first manned, followed by Paul Cornu, first free manned flight.

1936 German Inventor Professor Heinrich Focke came up with one of the worlds first true helicopters,
and it was test piloted by a Woman, Hanna Reitsch (1st charter member of Whirly-girls)

1956 American Inventor Stanley Hiller Jr built the Rotorcycle XROE-1, a portable mini-helicopter.

1959 production of the Bell UH-1 "Huey" utility helicopter begins.

1967 the French produce the SA 341 Gazelle, the first helicopter to feature a Fenestron Tail Rotor.

1974 The first AH-64 Apache Attack helicopter is flown.

1977 the Worlds biggest helicopter the Russian Mil Mi-26 Halo first flies, the Halo has a payload capacity of 20,000 kilograms !!

2004 Commanche 'stealth" attack helicopter project officially axed.


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Comment by PaulBrislen, on 13-Nov-2007 08:02

I got to fly a helicopter earlier this year for the first time. They're insane and I love it. Completely, utterly uncontrollable. I can't imagine what the first pilots felt like when they jumped on board.

Anyone in the central North Island who wants to give it a go should call Dave at Latitude 37 in Hamilton. Bags of fun ( Highly recommended. Just wear your lucky brown boxer shorts.

Comment by freitasm, on 13-Nov-2007 08:45

Back in Brazil, when I was a kid, we used to live just around the corner from the V COMAR - one of the few air bases with supersonic jets in the south (including the Mirage back then, but that was in the 70s).

A few times our school had BBQ sundays at the air force base, and we got to visit the jets, and some helicopter pilots would land next to the soccer field during the day giving us free flights.

After this I had the opportunity to fly (and land) twice on Franz Joseph Glacier here in New Zealand. Great stuff and lots of fun.

Comment by haze23, on 13-Nov-2007 09:28

It's funny how this post was put up today as I was just telling a girlfriend of mine last night that I am going to do some research on helicopters so I can make a book for my son as he is totally facinated by helicopters and airplanes. I have only been on a helicopter once myself although if my son keeps up his facination i'm sure ill be on many more- time to overcome my fear of heights!!

Comment by Wob, on 13-Nov-2007 09:46

I was working at a "helecopter access only" radio site on the West Coast, back in the eighties, and we dropped off a couple of guys and some gear on the playing fields of the Ross primary school.
The teachers bought all the kids out to watch - we felt like celebrities!

I have some great memories of being flown around in helecopters, and I still get the opportunity from time to time.
Every time it's a real buzz!!

Comment by Sergeant Michael Griffin, on 14-Nov-2007 20:09

Wasn't there a fella named Sikorsky involved at some point in time? I know he wasn't french, but a mention would have been appropriate...


H-34, H-500, MD-520,

H-300, B-206, R-22,

S-58T, AS350B-2, H-3

Comment by Don Brabec, on 15-Nov-2007 04:37

Congratulations to 100 years of vertical flight! ...just three, short years after the Wright Bros. did thier thing! Helicopters are my passion! all began, I'm sure when my folks gave me a Little Golden Book entitled 'Helicopters'...I've been fortunate & blessed to have spoken with (& in some cases visit in person) rotary-wing giants such as N.O. Brantly, Stanley Hiller, Jr., Will Kuipers (Kolibre inventor in The Netherlands), Sergi Sikorsky, & Harold E. (Tommy) Thompson. Tommy was Igor Sikorsky's youngest, helicopter test pilot & Sikorsky's personal, helicopter pilot. Among other accomplishments, Tommy first intentionally looped an S-52, 10 consecutive times in 1949 & also set at least 2 world, helicopter, speed records in 'his baby', the S-52. My rotary-wing memorabilia collection features anything I can get my hands on, of the VTOL variety. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

Author's note by inane, on 15-Nov-2007 10:36

yes there was! I meant to put in the fact he was responsible for the first "true" helicopter.

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